Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
Nowadays a lot kids are depressed because they’re getting bullied in schools. Kids who get bullied are committing suicide. So will those kids who bully other kids be punished in the hereafter? Or will they be forgiven because they’re kids?
Answer: Assalam alaykum. Thank you for your question.
Bullying is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as soon as any signs of it are noticed. Bullying can take the form of verbal, physical and emotional suffering, and adults who have anything to do with children, particularly parents and teachers, should be aware of the signs and symptoms of those suffering from bullying and bullying behaviour.
Muslims particularly should be even more aware and keen to inculcate in their children a sense of consideration, care and general respect and kindness to others.
Legal responsibility and punishments
Children can be divided into pubescent and pre-pubescent:
A pubescent child is held to account and liable to punishment in this life and the next.
A pre-pubescent child is not held to account or liable to fixed legal punishments for an act, in this life or the next. However, a pre-pubescent child is liable to discrepancy punishment (ta’zir), and this could include anything that is deemed fit as a punishment and rehabilitation, including prison, corporeal punishment, community service etc., depending on the child’s age, level of discernment and other factors, and with limits.
[Tuhfa al Muhtaj, Iyanat al Talibin]
The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘The claimants would get their claims on the Day of Resurrection so much so that the hornless sheep would get its claim from the horned sheep.’ [Muslim]. Imam Nawawi, explaining this hadith, says, ‘The scholars have said that reward and punishment are not essential features of the gathering and the resurrection. The settling of scores between the hornless and horned animals is not based on accountability, because they are not held accountable, rather it is retaliation in kind for the sake of justice. And Allah knows best.’ [Sharh Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim].
As such, though we cannot say for sure how, we can be sure that on the Day of Resurrection justice and recompense will prevail in one form or another, with or without account, and no ‘no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least.’ [21:47]. And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.